I was wrong about Lance Stephenson. I’m sure I have lots of company, there. When the Indiana Pacers took him in the second round of the 2010 draft — and gave him a guaranteed contract — I thought Larry Bird was hitting the liquor cabinet. Stephenson was a too-typical New York City schoolboy who thought the world revolved around his very being. He was Mr. “Born Ready,” an immature kid who not only didn’t listen to coaches but got into some ugly skirmishes off the court. He didn’t seem to fit, especially with a franchise that was still trying to dust off the debris from The Brawl and other misdemeanors. At the very least, it was a leap of faith, a huge risk, even in the second round. Deemed untouchable and uncoachable, then-team President Larry Bird fell in love with Stephenson’s raw — emphasis on raw — talent. Early on, it was a disaster. He never played. “Born Ready” was born to sit. There were off-the-court problems, and he didn’t fit in the locker room with grown men. Roy Hibbert recently described Stephenson as an “(expletive)” in those early years, and there were altercations involving Stephenson and teammates.
Controversial decision on Lance Stephenson is paying off for Pacers
Indianapolis Star | May 7